Schoeser, Mary 1950-

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Schoeser, Mary 1950-


Surname is pronounced "shazer"; born February 20, 1950, in CA; immigrated to England; daughter of John Richard (a petroleum engineer) and Margaret Schoeser; married Dennis William Boyce, September 1, 1979 (divorced, 1983). Ethnicity: "Lorainoise/English." Education: University of California, B.S. (magna cum laude), 1972; California State University, Long Beach, postgraduate diploma (with distinction), 1976; Courtauld Institute of Art, London, M.A., 1979.


Home and office—Coggeshall, Essex, England. E-mail—schoeser@aolcom.


Christie's South Kensington, London, England, worked in textiles, 1980-82; Warner Fabrics, London, archivist, 1982-90; freelance researcher, exhibition organizer, lecturer, archivist, and historic textile advisor. Council of National Academic Awards, member of validation committee, 1979-86, external examiner, 1983-90; member of Textile Institute and Business Archives Council; curator of touring exhibitions.


British Textile Society (chair, 1990-93), Courtauld History of Dress Association (cofounder, 1990), National Trust, Twentieth Century Society, Wallpaper History Society, Royal Society of Arts (fellow).


Fellow, Rotary Foundation, 1977-78; scholar, Attingham Trust, 1987, and Monument Trust, 1991; British reading award for significant contribution to the teaching of the English language, 1995, for Why Leggings Are Lycra; Winterthur fellow, 2005.


Marianne Straub, Design Council Publications (London, England), 1984.

Fabrics and Wallpaper, Bell & Hyman (London, England), 1986.

(With Celia Rufey) English and American Textiles from 1790 to the Present, Thames & Hudson (London, England), 1989.

French Textiles, 1760-1960, Thames & Hudson (London, England), 1991.

(With Kathleen Dejardin) French Textiles, from 1760 to the Present, Lawrence King (London, England), 1991.

Why Fabrics Can Fly (juvenile), Longman (Harlow, England), 1994.

Why Jumpers Are Wooly (juvenile), Longman (Harlow, England), 1994.

Why Leggings Are Lycra (juvenile), Longman (Harlow, England), 1994.

Why T-shirts Are Cotton (juvenile), Longman (Harlow, England), 1994.

(Editor) International Textile Design, John Wiley (New York, NY), 1995.

English Church Embroidery, 1833-1953, Watts & Co. (London, England), 1998.

More Is More: An Antidote to Minimalism, Conran Octopus (London, England), 2002.

(Editor) Disentangling Textiles: Interdisciplinary Techniques in the Study of Design, Middlesex University Press (London, England), 2002.

World Textiles: A Concise History, Thames and Hudson (New York, NY), 2003.

Norma Starszakowna, Telos Publications, 2005.

(With Julien Macdonald and Bruno Marcandalli) Silk, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2007.

Also author of shorter works, including catalogs. Contributor to books including 5,000 Years of Textiles, British Museum Press (London, England), 1993; History of Wallpaper, Thames & Hudson (London, England), 1994; Founders of Modern Craft, Manchester University Press, 1997; Popular Politics and Design in Postwar Britain, Brighton University Press, 1997; and History of Western Textiles, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2003. Contributor to periodicals in England, including Historic House, Crafts, World of Interiors, Wallpaper History Society Journal, RSA Journal, House and Gardens, and Textile History. Editor of Friends of Fashion, 1981-83, and Textile Society, 1984-89.


Mary Schoeser once told CA: "My motivation when writing is to promote the study of a vastly under-published subject and to highlight the socioeconomic context in which design must develop. It is the combination of my liberal California education and the richness of source material in England that keeps me going.

"The last ten years have been—as everyone who overworks oneself says—demanding and rewarding. Textile and costume history has only in the last decade become a subject area of interest to publishers, other than in specialty areas, such as star designers, exhibition spin-offs, coffee table ‘spectaculars,’ and so on. This new interest stems largely from publishers in London. This explains why I chose to write even when, increasingly over the last four years, it has eroded my ‘off-duty’ time to nothing."



Times Literary Supplement, March 30, 1990, Bernard Nevill, review of English and American Textiles from 1790 to the Present, p. 352.

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Schoeser, Mary 1950-

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